KINGSTON, R.I. – Behind starter Andrew Revello and reliever Asa Johnson, the St. Bonaventure baseball team (17-21, 7-9 Atlantic 10 Conference) earned a crucial series-opening win at Rhode Island (26-21, 10-6 A-10) Friday afternoon, 2-1.
A Nick Lohrer ground-rule double to left field in the 7th plated Thaddeus Johnson with what ended up being the game-winning run as the Bonnies beat the Rams for the first time in five tries and continued to fight back in the A-10 postseason race.
Revello tossed 6.1 innings, allowing just one earned run in limiting the Rhody bats to only four hits. The hard-throwing right hander struck out three and walked four en route to picking up his team-leading fifth win of the season and evening his record at 5-5. He was relieved by Asa Johnson, who threw the final 2.2 innings and earned his second save of the campaign by allowing just one hit and facing the minimum eight batters.
Eric Jutca, Jason Radwan, T. Johnson and Lohrer all collected two hits for the Bonnies, with Lohrer doing the most damage as the senior catcher had two doubles – one being the game-winner and the other setting up the first run of the day. Lohrer and T. Johnson plated both of SBU's runs.
Entering the weekend, Bonaventure was tied for 10th place in the A-10 ledger, three games out of the 7th, and final, A-10 Tournament berth with nine games conference games remaining. Rhode Island, which opened the year with nine straight losses against top-25 teams, was mired in the four-way tie for 3rd.
Bonaventure – which connected for nine hits as a team – won its fourth straight A-10 game and claimed its sixth victory in the last seven contests overall. URI came into the contest with the league's top ERA (3.20) and was 8th in the nation in hits allowed per game (7.12).
With two hits, Radwan moves into a tie with himself for 7th on the program's single-season hit list with 65. The Angola, N.Y., native also gets closer to the career hit record of 262 as he now has 244 during his time in the Brown and White.
The Bonnies took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning, and it was bottom of the Bona lineup which set the table. Lohrer, the 8th hitter, delivered just his second double of the season leading off the inning into the left-center gap on an 0-1 pitch. He was then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Michael Meredith before Eric Jutca grounded out to short to plate Lohrer with the game's first run.
Rhody tied the game up at 1-1 in the 5th after the first two batters reached and the lead runner scored on a bases-loaded walk. The damage could have been much worse, however Revello was able to induce a foul out with the bases loaded for the second out and then struck out Connor Foreman on an 0-2 pitch to get out of the frame.
Bonaventure looked poised to re-take the lead in the 6th as Jutca and Radwan led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Joel Rosencrance followed by sending a first-pitch offering from Mike Bradstreet all the way to the warning track in center, allowing Jutca to tag up. However, the left fielder was stranded there to keep the contest knotted up.
The Bona 7th inning could have been much worse for the Rams, but the Bonnies left the bases loaded. In the bottom of the frame, Revello was lifted for Johnson, who immediately gave up a single but got out of trouble after a great play by Bret Heath. With runners on first and second and one out, Heath caught a line drive for the second out and then quickly fired to first base where he completed the inning-ending double play by picking off Jeff Roy. Roy is a perfect 28-28 in stolen-base attempts this year, ranking 18th in the nation in steals per game.
Heath made another potential game-saving play in the 9th when he ranged far into the gap to track down the second out of the frame, preventing at least a double.
The two teams continue the series with the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 from Bill Beck Field.